Run the equator: In steak heaven!

Monday, July 30, 2007

In steak heaven!

Salta's Franciscan church
Click on pic to see slideshow
or here to access the set

"Travel days" are hallucinating tracts of time when for countless hours in a row we move from one point of our trip to the next. Getting from Tupiza, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina was one of those incredibly long days, during which the uncomfortable naps you take while being on board of a vehicle don't really count against the innumerable waking hours. It started when we woke up at a quarter to three to pack our bags and catch a southbound train that was supposed to leave at 4:10AM but in fact left with half hour of delay.

Three hours later we arrived in the freezing high-altitude (again...) town of Villazon and crossed the border to La Quiaca on foot, refusing all the transportation deals the touts at the railway station were offering us at overinflated prices (and we rightly did so; the prices on the other side were better). The Argentine border officer probably hadn't seen a Romanian passport in his life so he took a while trying to figure out what to do with it and whether I needed a visa or not, but in the end he stamped the 90 days stay and we moved on.

Interior of the cathedral

There are two things that strike the traveler after crossing the border between Argentina and Bolivia: on the Argentinian side there are newer cars, and the highways are paved. Going south on the slow downward slope of the Altiplano by bus was quite easy and comfortable and in 5 hours we made it to San Salvador de Jujuy, a larger town of which we only saw the bus terminal and the sandwich stand outside.

A mere one hour away in a very comfortable, bladder-friendly bus is Salta, a big old colonial town of 400,000 inhabitants. It was 6PM when we arrived, but once we did civilization struck us hard, and did so in the most favorable manner: by way of good food. Strolling on the Balcarce street we discovered the wonderful "La Leñita" restaurant which treated us with the best steaks I can honestly say I have ever had. The food was so good that after a less successful dinner attempt in a different restaurant the next night, we got back to La Leñita the third evening to revel in devouring tender, juicy beef cuts again. We have had steak for dinner every night since we got into this country...

We didn't do much for the rest of our time in Salta, besides strolling to the city center and back, lingering at sidewalk cafes, checking out some bookstores and eating well. Very well. So well... Ah!


Wilbert said...

Just got a reminder that you would have been 7 years @ microsoft today. Well, congratulations for not making it. Victor said you can send us the 6.5 pounds of M&M's anyway.

The pictures look awesome & it's great to see you are having a blast. Thanks for keeping your blog so up to date since.

Good luck & too much fun to both of you.

Michael & MoR said...

altiplano! 400,000 habitats! where do you get all these details from? oh well, the travelling bible... :-)
we just got to Salta last night and just had our first fantastico steak meal... you are right! it is amazing! how come you guys left here?!
we´ll get to BA around the 6th. cant wait to see you guys!